When under pressure, we don’t usually expect to feel joy. But we need it. And that need is more important than we may realize.
It’s not just because joy feels so much better than the tension and pain (in our muscles, in our feelings, in our mind) that accompanies pressure. It’s because underneath just about everything that we do there is the desire for joy. This is how we’re wired.
Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t quite acknowledge the true nature of joy. Quite the opposite, joy is treated as an emotional luxury. And so, as we grow up we adopt the belief that joy is something that we can only feel under positive circumstances.
We believe that only something external, certain people or things, will bring us that joy. But it is not true. Joy is a fundamental part of our being.
Most of us have seen the joy on a newborn baby’s face. We were like that too, once, and that joy is still within us. Not only is it there, but we can also actually access it, just like we can access our inner love, peace, creativity, and wisdom.
Because it lives within us, we can access joy under pressure too. It is, of course, a learning process (or rather an unlearning process), but it is absolutely possible. Joy is part of our natural energy flow.
And so, the key to experiencing more joy is to help our energy circulate better. But how?
Before I share the ten strategies that will help you access joy (yes, even under pressure!), I want to bring two important factors to your attention:
Create a stable relationship with joy.
The easiest way to access joy under pressure is to develop a strong, stable relationship with joy. With that, all the strategies below will be so much easier to apply and enjoy, at any time.
To learn how to make joy your everyday companion, rain or shine, download the free “Finding Joy” ebook at HalinaGold.com/wu.
When under pressure, and even when you’re not, you usually won’t be able to move into joyful bliss at will. That’s totally okay. You don’t miss bliss. A peaceful, joyful, optimistic feeling is really all that you need to move forward.
That said, let’s dive into the ten immediate strategies to access joy while under pressure:
Spend time in nature.
When in nature, we relax. We experience ourselves as part of something bigger, something immensely beautiful and at the same time as imperfect as we are. We fall into place somehow. And as we do, we breathe deeper, our energy begins to flow more freely as well, and joy follows.
There is joy in just breathing. And there is also a specific way to open to joy through breath. Here’s a video with a very simple practice that will help you open to joy. You can do it wherever you are and at any time of the day.
Joy is closely connected to a state of wonder. Whether we’re surprised by a rainbow, an unexpected gift, or a smile from a stranger, joy rises. But you don’t have to wait for that to happen! A state of wonder can be experienced under any circumstances, and what it takes is presence or mindfulness.
Another way of being deeply present with yourself and your soul is through meditation. It could be guided or just silent meditation. Or perhaps listening to your preferred kind of meditative music brings you that sense of joy.
Play music that makes you feel like dancing, then do it! Let your body decide what “dancing” is. The magic of dance is that it allows our energy to circulate, and as it does joy has a chance to flow too.
Spend time with small children.
Children have such direct access to joy! So much so that we tend to think that children bring us our joy. But they don’t. Children bring their own joy. And when they do, they remind us of our own innate joy and help us feel it again. If you don’t have children yourself, go to a park and watch children play.
Ask a friend to help you feel joy.
That’s what friends are for! Call a friend and ask them to help you get back to joy. Let them know that you might need it to happen in two steps. The first step is for you to talk about the pressure you’re under so that you can get things off your chest. Then, once you feel a bit lighter, do something that will make you feel more joyful. Even if it’s just being silly together!
Open to your creativity.
Creativity is your friend too! It’s a great way to get your energy flowing for sure. Like above, start with just expressing what you’re struggling with, be it in writing, painting, singing, any creative form that you enjoy. If you allow yourself to dive deep enough, sooner or later joy will be there, the joy of flow and of creation itself.
Make someone smile.
A simple act of kindness towards another will almost always help you access your sense of joy as well. There is joy in simple generosity, in opening your heart to another, and also in allowing your energy to focus on something else than the pressures of your own life.
Help someone else find joy.
Sometimes, the path to fulfilling a need is through helping someone else who needs something similar. If you know someone who is also under pressure, share this article with them. Or pick one strategy and invite them to try it, or, better still, do it together!
Most importantly, start building a solid, lasting relationship with it so that you can access joy under pressure, and on all the other days too.
Joy is your birthright!